Tomorrow we will continue our exploration around relationship with others by considering our relationship to self. This is probably the most difficult of all the Metta categories for practitioners. Regardless of whether your self image is positive or negative – your relationship to the self is front and foremost in any relationship with others.
The self is basically an imaginary thing. We construct it from memories of past events, anticipation/expectations of future events and the arising of sense consciousness. What this means is that whatever information comes into the mind through a sense door (see, hear, smell, taste, touch and thought), the mind connects it to a feeling tone (pleasant, unpleasant, or neither pleasant or unpleasant) and a memory or projection. This creates a false sense that there is someone experiencing the moment. That someone is us.
We are not going to be delving into the concept of non-self tomorrow night. Instead, I mention this for you to consider who you would be without a relationship with other? More importantly, who would you be but for the people who hurt you, who loved you, who supported or ignored you? Consider this, can you anticipate the future without involvement of other people? When you have difficulties – are they your fault? Likewise when you have fortunate circumstances – are they solely from your own efforts?
I believe it is important to investigate this inquiry because we tend to take on all the bad, difficulties, suffering and blame of our lives while diminishing the good, easy, blessings and grace that come our way. We hold this fabricated idea that we are alone and, because we are alone, we are solely responsible for everything in our lives. If we could see that our sense of self is dependent upon people we have absolutely no control over – maybe we could loosen up a little and share the load a bit.
See you tomorrow…Tuere